24th May 2013

Centrelink’s residency requirements

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Clarifying Centrelink’s residency requirements
Debbie McTaggart

When applying for an Age Pension you must meet residency requirements, but as YOURLifeChoices member Kavita has realised, what these are can be confusing.

Q. Kavita
On your website it says, under residency requirements for an Age Pension: "Applicants must have been an Australian resident for a total of at least 10 years, five of which are in one continuous period (periods of residency in countries which have an International Social Security Agreement with Australia may count.) Under what circumstances do periods of residency in other such countries count? I am a dual Australian-US citizen, but so far have lived only eight years in Australia. I am wondering if my years in the US will count towards the 10-year requirement, since the US does have a Social Security Agreement with Australia.

A. The exact details of International Social Security Agreements vary from country to country, but usually means that if you have resided in a country which has an agreement with Australia, the time you have spent there will count as continual residency.

In some instances you may receive part of your pension from each country in which you have resided. This usually means that you will receive a top-up pension from Australia, which is dependant on how much you receive from overseas social security payments.

You can download details of the International Social Security Agreement with the United States of America from HumanServices.gov.au.

I recommend that you read this and then make an appointment to see a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer to discuss your individual circumstances. You can make an appointment by calling 13 2300.





COMMENTS

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seth
24th May 2013
12:29pm
Applicants must have been Australian residents for at least ten years.
In the past? now,? or the future? if in another country.
Young Simmo
24th May 2013
12:43pm
I am curious to know if 10 Pound Poms get the full Australian pension, plus a pension from England. If they do, they are way ahead of the GENUINE life time Aussie.
vyaja
24th May 2013
12:48pm
10 pound poms just get the one pension ... though you may have a joice, it won't be more than the single pension. UK state pensions are now woeful, so I wouldn't even bother with the UK pension unless you worked there in govt or military and have additional pension.
Young Simmo
24th May 2013
12:57pm
Thanks vyaja, My best mate is an Australian born and bred and gets the Australian pension. His wife is a pom, came to Aust in 1961 and gets a part English pension. So it must be a case of 2 Aussies one Aust pension. 2 English one English pension. One of each gets you 2 bites of the cherry.
FrankC
25th May 2013
4:46pm
My wifee gates an Australian pension , and a UK pension, her UK pension, approx. $30 per year !!! and she worked there for 15 years>
Tom Tank
24th May 2013
2:44pm
To clarify this issue of UK pensions. In the UK everyone has a deduction from their wage/salary into a National Insurance scheme which includes payment of pensions. This is in addition to the normal income tax deductions. A UK citizen who contributed to that for a minimum of 10 years is entitled to a part pension. This is in fact quite small and is not indexed for inflation. Perhaps this also applies to anyone who was a resident of the UK as well without having been a citizen.
Courtesy of Bob Menzies who cancelled a similar scheme here in Australia and took the funds into Consolidate Revenue our pensions are paid from Income Tax receipts.
I worked in the UK for 10 years prior to migrating in 1965 and worked here for the next 43 years until retirement a couple of years ago.
Call me selfish but I receive my miserly small UK part pension and the Australian Aged Care Pension and believe I am entitled to both. Perhaps if Australians had greatly foresight they would not have let Bob Menzies get away with it and everybody would be better off now.
A small correction to Young Simmo there is no such thing as an English Pension as everybody born in the UK, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, get the same UK Pension.
Young Simmo
24th May 2013
3:24pm
OK Tom Tank, I said English and you say UK, I will accept that correction. However from what you say, you get a bigger pension than me and I have spent 73 years in Australia, and you have worked here for 43 years, Hmmmmm.
Tom Tank
24th May 2013
4:10pm
As I said don't blame me blame Robert Menzies. If you feel disadvantaged that is not my fault as I paid my full share of taxes for 43 years which is probably more than many Australians on the Aged Pension have done and that pension is paid from taxes.
Young Simmo
24th May 2013
4:15pm
No Tom Tank, I don't feel disadvantaged, I just wanted to find out if it is a level playing field. So far it seems like it is.
RichF
24th May 2013
4:02pm
Sorry everyone but you obviously haven't been watching the fight we ex Poms have been fighting for 50 odd years. If you receive an English pension it is frozen as at the date you first receive it. Thus someone who came to Oz early on 1960 say will get a pension based on the English pension as at 1960 reduced by the ratio of the amount of time working in the UK divided by the notional working life of some one in the UK. So if this geezer worked for 20 years before hitting Oz he would get 20 divided by 50 (the assumed working life) of the 1960 pension for ever. NO updates and NO increases due to inflation. STUCK. The Oz guvvy will top this up with some of the Oz pension but downgrade it by some figure (last time I looked it was about 60%) of the UK pension. No double dipping here and no two bites of the cherry.
Young Simmo
24th May 2013
4:12pm
OK, I don't have to worry about my Pommy neighbour getting his new Lamborghini delivered on Xmas day.
people power
24th May 2013
6:36pm
I am shaw 10 years only gets you half Aussy pension
people power
Londoner
25th May 2013
4:33am
Let me turn this around for a moment.
My partner, who is an Australian citizen and drawing a single persons pension, wants to join me in the UK.
Centrelink say that if she leaves Australia on a permanent basis she would have her pension reduced to the Basic amount (about 2/3rds of what she currently receives) but that would depend on MY financial situation.
It took 3 months to get a written answer when I wrote to Centrelink (they only wanted to talk to me on the telephone!!!) and then only because I wrote twice personally to Senator Kim Carr asking the reason they want to know what money I have to be told that it's because the Australian Pension is means tested!
So I take it that Australia is so strapped for cash that it has to rely on a foreign national to support one of it's citizens who has paid her dues in Australia for over 50 years.
My own government doesn't ask me that question and I'm sure that I'm not going to tell the Australian (or any other) Government, but even if I did, how could they verify what I'd told them?
It's about time that Australia stopped restricting it's citizens from the freedom of movement and started to support them wherever they want to go or choose to do.
people power
25th May 2013
6:15pm
Londoner, we Aussy have to do it so do you, you can earn A$599 per fornight in Britian and your wife will get full pension , she must remain a Australian citizen though, if you dont do as centrelink require you are the one who is to blame for her restrictions, I have a wife and 3 children 4, 5, & 9 yrs old, i only receive a single pension because they are not residents of Australia me 50 years tax payer, you what to complain , ha,ha
Londoner
25th May 2013
6:59pm
If I've got my facts correct, my partner can get her full pension as long as she remains an Australian citizen. That means currently (as Australia seems to keep changing its mind like the weather on such matters) that she can only be out of the country for a maximum of 6 months else Centrelink knock back her pension. She then has to remain in Australia for at least 3 months before she can leave again for another max 6 months visit else Centrelink want to know the reason why and her finances looked into.
The pure economics makes it impossible to have a meaningful relationship due to the constant toing and froing as for the very least my partner will have to maintain a presence in Australia.
Anyway, what so called 'free speaking' country requires its citizens to log themselves out and back again under written threat of financial punishment if they don't comply.
And for me to up-sticks and move to Australia would be worse as I can give you a list as long as your arm as to what restrictions would be applied to me.

Your statement about how much my partner can earn in the UK is incorrect. Everyone gets a personal allowance (we only have one for everyone not like the Australian system where you have two) which currently is around $15,000 pa for the mature and beyond that you have to pay the normal tax requirements. This is an incentive for people to save whereas the Australian system doesn't.
Kazza
27th May 2013
4:57pm
I came to Australia from England 7 years ago. I worked for 25 years in England, contributing towards my State Pension. As I didnt have enough years (due to taking time off to raise my children) to get a full pension, I opted to put in 5000 pds in order that I could get a full pension. I will recieve my full UK Pension paid to me in Australia when I retire. I do not expect to get an Australian one as it is means tested. I have no problem with receiving my UK pension that I have contributed to over the years.
Londoner
27th May 2013
5:50pm
I hope you'll be able to live on just the UK Pension!!
Kazza
28th May 2013
9:30am
@Londoner. We have no intention of expecting to live on the UK Pension alone. We have planned for retirement and have several Pension funds and have also been paying in the maximum amount for Super since arriving in Australia and seeing that we are only early 50's, still have a lot of working years ahead of us. I think anyone who expects to live on just the state pension are fooling themselves.
people power
1st Jun 2013
2:07pm
Londoner, as of 1/JAN2014 if your wife has been tax payer for more than 35 yrs she can stay more than one year as i have two years as of now, i can not see her pension being taken away from a longer stay
people power
1st Jun 2013
2:52pm
kazza, quite right there mate, but sometimes things dont turn out as you planned say divorce at 60 yrs old and you end up loosing everthing, so you are left with nothing, no home and only few dollars in the bank, same with self super members it will only last you 10 to 15 yrs if you receive A$500.000 payout from super fund.thats 75 yrs old, and out of money so you come on Gov pension, for me no, to pension funds if they play the shares are very unperdictable, look at people now who cant retire because of the financial crash 2010, My suggestion put your money into gold bullion, if things go wrong gold will rise,
people power
1st Jun 2013
3:03pm
londener, no mate thats what Australia centrelink will allow you not Britain,yes very hard to have romance so far away , for me 6yrs of Australia to Philippines back and forth , but now im retired here with my family, but government has now changed its policy allowing pensioners to bring there families home to Australia, as i said before i have 3 children 4yrs up to 9yrs old , and surviving on single pension, all centrelink wants you to tell them is your yearly income and things will come together for you, i suggest wife go and have a good talk to them with this imformation
people power
1st Jun 2013
3:18pm
To all Pensioners
My fellow pensioners lets get together not fight each other,Lib or Labour are not going to help you, if you have not joined theseniors party then join it now, we have the numbers to win Senate seats and change things, united we stand divided we fall , very old saying but true.2016 will be our year, once we can unite pensioners .
we ask you to fight one more time for your country, lets fight these pollies and get our equal rights not with bullets but with the ballet paper
Londoner
1st Jun 2013
5:52pm
people power, I find your comments interesting, if not differing from what Centrelink has told my partner. Of course you have an election coming up in September and it'll be interesting to see how this will change things, if at all!
Your 'call to arms' about joining a 'Seniors Party' is interesting. It would seem to an outsider like myself that Australia could benefit from a political party that has the welfare of Australia and its citizens at its heart.
people power
2nd Jun 2013
11:51am
Londener, Yes that is the policy we are trying to obtain, but not as easy as one would think, when you think retired members are our Anzac,s yet Australian Government wont us to lay down and die to save them money, but are willing to spend money on those who have not done much to build this country or defend it.
I ran for Parlament in 2004 lower house, learnt about what Libs and Labour are all about, neither of these two parties are going to help pensioners in the futher it will be in-reverse to that , reducing aid, drugs, medical after 75 yrs already 65 if we get disabilities when we retire, with in 10 years you will find no pensions available to the age.
I enclose a email address for you to contact i received it from the Minister of Health and Ageing, international.service@centrelink.gov.au hope this will help you both.
My call to arms, please spread the word, we need them to join now.
Londoner
2nd Jun 2013
7:51pm
people power, thank you for the information but I already knew the email address. As I posted above it took 3 MONTHS to get a written reply from Centrelink, and then it had to be via the office of its Minister, and even then their answers left further questions whereas my own government gave me a detailed written reply to my query within 10 days.
Unfortunately I don't trust anyone, especially a government department, who is prepared to verbally tell you something (and with Centrelink this varies from person to person and department to department hence) but will not confirm in writing what they have said. I tried to do that with Centrelink and where did it get me - nowhere. So what has Australia got to hide?
I also don't trust governments who require its citizens to give advance notice that they intend to leave the country, who have to give details of their trip abroad and who have to 'check-in' when they return, all under written threat that their pension and benefits will be cut if they don't comply. And one could easily go on about other Australian restrictive practices!
So is this what is meant by the Lucky Country giving someone a Fair Go?
people power
3rd Jun 2013
12:03am
Londoner, Yes i can see your point, but there are pensioners out there who have been away for 5 yrs, you must be a born Australian i think for that,there are exceptions to there rules its finding them that counts.
Londoner
3rd Jun 2013
3:03am
I keep telling myself that there must be a way around the situation that we find ourselves in, it's just finding it.
I'd like to thank you for taking the time to post your comments, which I've found informative and have given us new hope for the future.
people power
3rd Jun 2013
12:39pm
Londener, no problem mate, hope it all comes together for you , if i can help more drop me a line, i intend to run for a Senate seat in 2016 in QLD Hopefully for the seniors party, but keep the faith laws are changing under policical pressure for pensioner rights
m7mdfadel
8th Aug 2015
8:27am
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